Hip hop has been around long enough for several generations to be active as recording and performing artists – seventies rap pioneer Kurtis Blow, whose first record came out in 1979, is still touring, while the majority of new names on the scene are under 20 years old, young enough to be Kurtis’ grandchildren. Earlier this year we saw a video of a British language teacher and his student battling each other in a rap contest, a painful thing to watch as the cocky 17-year old was lyrically slaughtered by the 30-year old.
Meanwhile in Tanzania there’s Dogo Janja, one of the youngest emcees on the East African hip hop scene. Barely into secondary school he had already released a couple of tracks and videos including ‘Anajua‘ and performed in both Arusha and Dar es Salaam; one of the highlights of his career being an encounter with Tanzania’s president Kikwete.
Although Dogo Janja (his Swahili name means ‘smart kid’) is now focusing on his studies, he still found time to record, and better still, his latest song is a collabo with his secondary school teacher Mathew Protas. The latter doubles as a hip hop artist using the stage name Easy Muchwa. As if to emphasize the unusual collabo, this song is about the plight of teachers in Tanzania – they work hard for a minimal salary and suffer in order to get to work every day.
The video was shot by Karabani who was also responsible for the recent comeback video for Mr Nice (Tabia gani), while the track was recorded at Bongo Records with a definite early 2000’s feel, almost as if the commercial outbreak of Bongo Flava never happened.